When my son Aiden was two years old, whenever a stranger tried to talk to him he would ball up his fists and stick them right in his eyes as if him not being able to see the person made the reverse true as well. When he was three years old, despite having a very complex vocabulary for his age, he began to stutter when he was very nervous or overtired. It was something that happened literally overnight and comes and goes just as quickly. He blinks a lot when he is concentrating. I have an anxious child. He has come out of his shell so much since starting school last year but he still has his moments. Once he warms up to you, he is an absolute joy to be around but I always worry that his shyness will hold him back from trying new things.
These past few months he has really started to relax those fists, remove them from his eyes and face the world. As a mom, it is such a beautiful thing to see. He joined Elite Freestyle Karate (in North Reading) in February and he has really taken to it more than any activity he has tried thus far. He spends hours in bootcamps, talks about it at home and looks forward to every class.
Today he participated in his first tournament. He was prepared. He has been practicing at home and he took a special preparation class so that he would know exactly what to do. During the tournament each student must get up in front of the judges, introduce themselves and ask permission to demonstrate their skill. The student then has to follow through with the demonstration and hopefully, succeed.
This would have been a complete nightmare scenario even a half year ago. Today, he was confident, brave and standing in front of three judges, four hundred and sixty students and all of their parents.
He may have whispered his introduction speech but he didn’t stutter once. He nervously forgot to bow and missed his “kiai” but when he did his hammer fist board break, he freaking nailed it. He broke through more than just a board today. I can’t thank his Senseis at EFK enough for promoting the confidence and bravery kids like him need to succeed.
My boy won the “official” third place, Bronze for his level in his tournament. I’m so proud that today, he let the world see his face.